Generic photo of TGV.

EUROPE: SNCF President Guillaume Pepy and SBB Chief Executive Officer Andreas Meyer signed an agreement on February 16 to step up the frequency and quality of services between France and Switzerland operated by TGV Lyria.

The jointly-owned subsidiary will be allocated a fleet of 19 dedicated TGV POS trainsets, for which SBB will contribute SFr100m.

Following the rerouting of Paris - Genève TGV services via the Haut-Bugey line in December 2010, Paris - Basel services are to accelerated in December 2011 when they will be routed via LGV Rhin-Rhône, giving a fastest timing of 3 h 3 min, 24 min faster than the present best. The number of weekday services will rise from five each way to six.

SBB and SNCF said on February 16 that timings between Swiss cities and the French capital are to be cut to less than 3 h in the medium term. Plans are also being drawn up to add expand the number of destinations served by TGV Lyria.

During 2010 TGV Lyria carried 4 million passengers, of which 2?3 million were making international journeys. Turnover increased by 17% over 2009 to reach SFr340m.